9 Things I Stopped Doing to Save Money for a Car
In the spring of 2018 I set a goal to buy a car for $20,000 and to be able to pay cash for it by 2020. My calculations showed that in order to reach this goal, I needed to save about $1,000 every month. Even taking into account the fact that my family has a sufficient income, the opportunity to put aside this amount of money was close to impossible. But the idea had been born and it intrigued me.
Especially for Bright Side, I’m going to tell you what “wasteful” habits I have fought in order to save enough money for the car of my dreams.
My name is Polina, I live in Saint Petersburg and, in 2018, we were planning to purchase a new car. We already had a 10-year-old car that required more and more attention day by day. It would cough, sneeze, break down, and we had to constantly “fix” it. Once, the car broke down during our trip to the countryside for the celebration of my mom’s birthday and we missed the biggest part of the event while trying to get the car working.
Moreover, we were expecting a baby and we needed a bigger car with 5 doors, instead of the 3-door car that we had. We decided to buy it without taking out a loan, even if it wasn’t new.
In order to reach a financial goal, one needs to understand how much money they have.
Now I can confidently say how much money we spend on each category of life. I can also plan our expenses one month ahead. But 2 years ago, I couldn’t begin to imagine how much our family spends on products. We would always make unplanned purchases — if we wanted something, we would buy it. Since the moment I set the goal, I started to write down all my expenses on a notepad, on a daily basis. I divided them into 4 categories:
- compulsory: housing, mobile phone services, internet
- routine life: products, detergents, animal food, self-care products
- entertainment: meeting friends, museums, cafes, food delivery
- force majeure: treatment, medicine, repair
I spent one month investigating where all the money goes. By the way, the fact that we had started to write down all of our expenses, made us think before making another purchase, “Do we really need it?” I related to the process of saving money like a competition with my own squandering, at the end of which, a cool award was waiting for me. It was important to not worsen the quality of our current life because we were going to need to continue saving money for a long time.
Bad habit #1: Spending our entire salary
In order to make the process of parting with this money easier, I was imagining that I was paying a loan for my car. But in fact, the money just stayed with me. I was simply hiding it from myself. It was extremely difficult, but I made an agreement with myself that I’d spend the rest the way I wanted, but I actually couldn’t. Right after getting my paycheck, and seeing only half of it in my account, my wish to spend it on shopping or at restaurants instantly disappeared.
I had months where I was able to increase my monthly payment to myself and because of this I managed to save more. I ended up saving about $6,000, where about $200 was my interest for just having money in the account
Bad habit #2: Ignoring the opportunity to save money on obligatory bills
I would always think that public utilities were extremely expensive, but it turned out that it is possible to decrease those bills. Apart from installing water and electricity meters, replacing all the light bulbs with LED ones, and getting the habit of switching off the water if we are not using it, we also took the following measures:
- We started to use additional lamps instead of the main ones in the evenings.
- I would use the dishwasher and the washing machine after 11 PM only (it’s cheaper than in the afternoon).
- I started to exclusively choose the washing mode. Heating the water up to 140°F requires more electricity than washing at 90°F.
Thanks to these useful habits, we started to pay $20-30 less per month. And it added about $500 to our bank account over 1.5 years.
Bad habit #3: Not checking my accounts every day
I started to check my cash and cards every day. This means that if I had a small amount left at the end of the day, I would send it to my savings account. For example, if I had $186 on my card, I would transfer $6 to my savings account. Thus, I managed to save about $70 — 100 within a month. I did the same with cash and always spent this money on something useful like paying bills. Within 1.5 years of everyday rounding off, I managed to save about $1,200. If I hadn’t been doing it, the money would have gotten wasted again.
Bad habit #4: Eating out frequently
I started to cook in advance, so that I would have enough food for the week ahead. I would divide the portions for one serving and freeze them in containers. The recipes were pretty simple: garnish + meat or fish + vegetables. They could be stored for a week, or even more. Earlier, when I didn’t have enough time to cook, I would order food delivery, go to a cafe, or buy takeout food. Now I take out frozen food from the freezer, unfreeze it, and eat it. So, I ended up saving my money and I didn’t consume unnecessary calories.
It’s ok to freeze soups, as well — they don’t lose their taste after unfreezing. It’s actually more convenient to carry frozen soup to work, because it doesn’t spill. However, this approach attracted surprised looks from my colleagues who would always peek in my container and wrinkle their noses. But for me, I was happy, because I wasn’t eating fast food during my lunch break.
I picked fruits and vegetables by myself, because packed ones always cost more. In comparison with the first month of the experiment when I was only analyzing my expenses, the difference was $70 (which was almost $1,300 over 1.5 years).
Here are other tips on saving money on products. We would always buy products with a long shelf life in jumbo packs (tea, sugar, pasta, groats, and cat and dog food). If I saw a good deal for a product I always use, like toothpaste, laundry detergent, or my regular shampoo, I would always buy 4-5 packs at once.
Bad habit #5: Not using bonuses and deals from banks
I got myself 5 different bank cards. One was for getting my salary, the other one had better terms for keeping the money, because it was giving me some interest for the deposit, the third one had a good cash back offer, etc.
One bank offered me an increased cash back offer for the products and services I use mostoften. For example, I chose “pharmacies,” “cinema,” and “transportation” for the first 3 months, which meant I’d be paying with this card when buying the services from the mentioned places. The categories with increased cash back can be changed for the next 3 months. Another bank offered a great cash back deal for cafes and restaurants, and I managed to get a significant amount of my money back.
My advice to all of you is the following: today any bank has these cards and you shouldn’t be afraid to get them, because they can put money in your pocket. The credit card companies keep coming up with new methods of attracting and sustaining clients with the help of various deals and bonuses. I even managed to get free annual travel insurance with the help of one card, miles for my flights, a certificate for dance lessons, and discounts for going to the movies.
Bad habit #6: Not considering cheaper alternatives for goods and services
I started to experiment with myself — I would make hair and face masks from the products I had in the fridge. I even tried to make a depilation cream from sugar and citric acid. Unfortunately, these folk remedies caused acne, dull hair, and redness on my skin. I have wasted a lot of time and products, but never got the desired results so I just returned to my usual products.
Instead, I found another way to reduce my expenses — I almost stopped wearing makeup and using perfume. I also replaced expensive products for my hair and face with cheaper ones. Personally, I didn’t manage to save a ton of money in this category — I only saved about $40 per month or $700 per 1.5 years.
I made a bigger profit from the fact that I almost stopped buying new clothes — only underwear and tights. My life became extremely dull without shopping and I would occasionally go window shopping without buying anything. Once, we were invited to our friends’ wedding and not long before that, I saw the dress of my dreams in a shop. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
I lost sleep and was literally dreaming of buying it. On the one hand, I had the money for this dress, but on the other hand, we were in this strict money saving mode. I visited the shop one more time and after trying it on, I realized it was a very simple dress. A little while ago, my granny taught me to use a sewing machine and it was high time I used my skills in practice. If I were to grade myself, I would give the result of my work a “C” because my stitches were uneven. Nevertheless, I managed to correct the situation with the help of a belt and a long white slip. So I spent $0 because I tailored my new dress from curtains, like Scarlett O’Hara.
I stopped getting upset about the absence of shopping in my life, asked my friends to do a clothing exchange, and started to use special sites to exchange my clothes. As a result, according to my calculations, I managed to save about $1,200 on clothes within 1.5 years.
Bad habit #7: Not searching for ways to earn money with my hobbies
Saving money on close to home consideration items drove me to making beauty care products myself — like creams, salves, and cleansers. Cleansers turned into my side interest and I began to join all the essential fixings into one cleanser bar. I likewise began to get herbs and oils and would offer presents to my companions and associates, and I was getting positive input about them.
One fine day I posted a declaration on the web attempting to sell my high quality cleanser. I got my first request following a few days and that number continued expanding step by step. That is the way my diversion began to realize me $200 month to month, considering that I was just making cleanser in my available time.
Unfortunate propensity #8: Letting myself spend more on things I could pay less for
I began to disrupt the street guidelines less regularly. Prior I’d pay about $25 once like clockwork for a speeding ticket, presently this number is zero.
I began to top off my vehicle at corner stores that are not as famous (the fuel is less expensive there) or I utilized a reward card at the typical service stations and spared about $100.
We would arrange essential merchandise and easily overlooked details on the web with a rebate and we figured out how to spare about $150 altogether. Here is an actual existence hack: if there is a line for embeddings a promotion code on the webpage of an online store, it merits requesting it by means of web based life or essentially googling it. I figured out how to safeguard my loft with a major rebate, to purchase an aircraft ticket, and to get passes to a show along these lines. I spent close to 10 minutes searching for them and the limits were critical.
That is likewise how the envelope “for the vehicle” got an extra $800.
Unfortunate propensity #9: Keeping a lot of superfluous things at home
When we spared enough for our objective, I began to wipe out my loft and I sold the things we didn’t utilize. Turns out, others required our old vacuum cleaner, our landline telephone that we haven’t utilized for a long time, an iron, and a feline house that our pet wasn’t keen on by any means. We even figured out how to sell old furnishings, compositions that I never enjoyed, the extras from building materials, and even an old bedding!
We got all the more free space in our extra space and in our wardrobes. I additionally sold garments that were in acceptable condition, that I wasn’t wearing, and my wedding dress for $250. We got more cash in our wallet and the entirety of our old things presented to us an extra $500.
The consequences of the test
It may appear as though I transformed into a grumpy person, whose insatiability arrived at a degree of madness and fixation. In any case, this isn’t accurate. I didn’t deny myself of the entirety of life’s delights, I simply diminished them fundamentally. I figured out how to spare the vital measure of $18,000 by my objective date. At that point I sold my old vehicle and purchased my fantasy vehicle that previously had a worked in caution, seat covers, and a lot of winter tires.
Simply envision that we figured out how to spare $300 consistently and we diminished our regular costs by $350 month to month. Inside this time, I understood what we spend our cash on, and my family prevented living from check to check. I began to acquire cash on my interest and unfurled my innovative potential. This time encouraged me to separate necessities from drive purchasing.
Also, I figured out how to check time and change it into cash. Presently, when I arrive at my objective, I can unwind and break awful — spend all that I gain on me. I have likewise become a mother and now neither my time nor my compensation has a place with me (the various moms will get me).
Which ordinary costs would you say you are prepared to jettison so as to purchase something you’ve been dreaming about for quite a while?